How to spot scams targeting your email, phone, and texts.

Fraudsters out to steal money and data are getting more sophisticated. One of their favorite methods of getting your personal information is through a scam called phishing.

What is phishing?

It’s pronounced just like “fishing” for good reason: The fraudster baits you with emails, text messages, or phone calls that seem legitimate at first. Often these fraud attempts appear to be from your financial institution, a government office, an online retailer, or even SECU. The real reason they’re reaching out? To get your information and steal your money.

Report Account Fraud or Scam

If you receive an unexpected or suspicious email, text message, or call, either ignore it or contact us at 800-879-7328 for advice. Do not respond or provide any personal information.

What if SECU contacts me by phone, email, or text?

SECU will never contact our members to request personal information such as account numbers, passwords, debit or credit card numbers, expiration dates, or personal identification numbers (PIN).

If you receive a communication that appears to be from us, and you suspect it’s not, ignore it and call us at 800-879-7328 us to verify.

How does an email phishing scam work?

A typical phishing email gets readers to click on fraudulent links. The email often warns of some kind of threat or problem and attempts to get people to click to confirm their security details.

The unsuspecting user clicks through to a website that is not related to the reputable organization (although it may look like it—some phishers are very good at what they do and use the same logo and design and even very similar URLs).

Any details entered into this fake site have a good chance of being used for fraudulent purposes. Or, the link may infect your computer, giving access to the bad guys.

Reputable financial institutions and credit card companies will never ask you to confirm your details this way.

What does an email phishing scam look like?

Once you know what to look for, you’ll have an easier time spotting and avoiding fraud. Check out these short videos for examples of how to spot a fraudulent email or fraudulent link.

How does a phone or text phishing scam work?

Phone calls were the number one way people reported being contacted by scammers in 2019, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FDC). Text message scams are also on the rise. These fake messages try to trick you into handing over personal information, often through fraudulent links.

Regardless of who these fraudsters pretend to be, the goal is the same: lure you into revealing things like your password, account number, PIN, or Social Security number. Then use that information to gain access to your email, bank, or other accounts—or even sell the information to other criminals who will do the same.

One way scammers make their call or text look more real is phone number spoofing, where they fake the caller ID information to make it appear the call or text is coming from a trusted financial institution, like SECU.

Be wary of ANYONE who asks you for information by phone or text. If you think it may be valid, hang up and look up the real number for your financial institution. They’ll be able to confirm if you were actually contacted. And remember, SECU will never request sensitive information by phone or text.

How can I identify phone or text scams?

There are a few ways to tell if the person on the other end isn’t who they claim:

  • They ask for personal or financial information. Do not share this info. A trustworthy organization would never pressure you to provide sensitive information. Ask for their name and number and say you’ll call back.
  • They threaten you. Legitimate businesses, banks, or government offices would not do business this way.
  • They instruct you how to send or move money. They may also tell you about different ways you can send money.
  • They demand money through cash advances or gift cards. A legitimate organization would never do this.
  • The phone number has more than 10 digits. Abnormally long numbers and unidentified 11-digit numbers are likely scams.
  • The text message comes from a regular (or abnormally long) phone number. Legitimate businesses send text messages from 6-digit short codes (e.g., 333666).

Here are some real examples of phishing scams that have been reported to SECU.

What does a phone or text phishing scam look like?

The best defense against fraud is to know what to look for. Fortunately, the calling cards of a fraudster are pretty universal. Check out this short video for some examples of how to spot a fraudulent phone call or text.

How do I report account fraud or attempted scams to SECU?

Call 800-879-7328 if your account has been compromised, or you receive a suspicious email, call, or text regarding your SECU account.